In late 1990s and early 2000, I tried out "Active Worlds" and more. They let me register an account and then walk around in a vast 3D world and chat with people/avatars. It was surreal and frankly felt more scary and unsettling than exciting, in spite of the bright and colorful visuals.

Fast-forward to ~2007, there was a brief mainstream "Second Life" craze. I tried it out for about 15 minutes then and was forced to conclude that it looked even worse than what I remember from those many years earlier.

Now there's yet again this "Metaverse" being constantly mentioned/pushed. This time, I didn't even bother downloading anything (I bet I couldn't even join it now anyway, as it seems to require a Facebook account or something), but rather just watched gameplay footage on YouTube.

It looks exactly like it did 22+ years ago. No joke.

It's still the same worse-than-cartoony, deadly dull, sterile look. I expected it to be literally photo-realistic at this point, but they seem to not even be trying.

Can somebody please explain to me how it's possible that so much happened up until the late 1990s, but since then, apparently, nothing has improved whatsoever? I know for a fact that they are able to make extremely realistic simulations, so why can't I launch an EXE on my desktop right now which lets me walk around in first person in an extremely realistic virtual city and own my own virtual apartment and go down to the store and buy items and have all kinds of exciting adventures which I would never dare or be able to do in real life?

Not only are we "not quite there yet" -- they don't even seem to be trying, or even using existing technology. I don't get it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What exactly are you calling the current metaverse? You watched gameplay footage of what exactly? The concept of the metaverse is broad, and its not yer realised. Looking at one VR world/game and saying "this is what the metaverse looks like" is like looking at one specific website and saying "that's what the internet 2.0 looks like". I mean, the amazon website looks terrible, while a big design company's website might look incredible, and they're both part of what is usually called the "internet 2.0". Metaverse is supposed to be a network or interconnected virtual worlds, not a single one. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2022 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, the concept of the metaverse might never actually come to be fully realised. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2022 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this question because it is not about developing a new original game or game mod, but a complaint about existing games. Please review the help center's topic guides for this site, particularly this sections: 'To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where…your question is just a rant in disguise: “[visual fidelity of metaverse-related games/apps] sucks, am I right?”' \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jan 19, 2022 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


I believe this is a based on multiple factors:

First of, the concept of a Metaverse mainly makes sense in VR, of which the portable headsets have very strict polygon and material budgets. Secondly, in a Metaverse implementation most of the assets would be user created, which would make it hard to have a unified and polished look and feel. In Facebook's conference there where many depictions of how their Metaverse it will look, and I believe they chose a simple art style to make it easily understandable, attractive to shareholders and hard to under-deliver.

As for the fidelity of virtual characters; Facebook showed of some semi-realistic photoscans of people, but as they are not out of the uncanny valley quite yet, and because users wouldn't want to represent themself with their real body anyway, characters still look very stylized and simple.

I don't think realistic graphics will never be achieved, but currently the focus of Metaverse implementation lies elsewhere.


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